Kamala Harris will visit Mexico, Guatemala but not desperate US states amid ongoing migrant crisis

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Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Mexico and Guatemala amid the ongoing migrant crisis on the southern border, but has no plans to visit the US states affected by the havoc, she revealed Wednesday.

Harris made the announcement while speaking to reporters from the White House ahead of a virtual roundtable she was hosting with experts on the Northern Triangle countries — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — after being asked if she planned to visit the border.

“The president has asked [Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border, and he has been working very hard at that and is showing some progress,” the vice president replied, explaining why she would not be traveling to the region.

“I have been asked to lead the issue of dealing with root causes in the Northern Triangle, similar to what then-Vice President [Joe Biden] did many years ago,” she continued, going on to note that she had spoken with the presidents of Mexico and Guatemala before stopping herself to note, “Well, I’m probably saying too much.”

Harris then decided to offer the big reveal, saying, “We have plans in the works to go to Guatemala as soon as possible.”

The vice president then noted that her delegation faced restrictions in flying out immediately due to COVID-19.

Harris declined to provide a timeline, only saying the trip, which would be to Mexico and then Guatemala, would happen “sometime soon.”

The meeting was Harris’ first public gathering on the issue since taking the reins on part of the crisis, specifically relating to diplomacy and “root causes,” in late March.

Harris’ office said Wednesday that issues likely to be covered included “root causes of migration,” as well as “humanitarian assistance, economic development, climate resilience, transparency, and good governance.”

In addition to Harris and her national security advisor, Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, the White House said attendees included Dan Restrepo, a senior fellow at the Neera Tanden-run Center for American Progress; Vicki Gass, a top policy adviser for Central America at Oxfam; Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a liberal think tank; Lisa Haugaard, co-director of the Latin America Working Group; Geoff Thale, president of the Washington Office on Latin America; Carolina Herrera, a Natural Resources Defense Council manager; and Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

Herrera is not the fashion designer of the same name.

The Biden administration’s undoing of former President Donald Trump’s border policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican illegal migrants at the US border, including thousands of unescorted children.

Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that President Biden is inviting them to cross the border.

Insisting that the border was not facing a crisis, Mayorkas said in early March that the problems the agency faced should be blamed on the previous administration.

The data, however, overwhelmingly shows that migrants were flooding the border because they believed Biden would welcome them with open arms.

Late last month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed the new president for the crisis, arguing that the “expectations” he set left migrants with the perception that they would be let into the US.

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